Graduates: Earned success is reward in itself

Posted: June 10, 2012 at 5:16 am

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By TOM JACKSON | The Tampa Tribune Published: June 10, 2012 Updated: June 10, 2012 - 12:00 AM

Graduation season, the best I can tell, has flown by in a swirl of flowing gowns, turned tassels, ovations (sometimes of relief) and congratulatory checks penned by well-wishers, as inviolable tradition holds.

All the while, a tradition no less unwavering played itself out: For the 15th consecutive year a span that began before this year's high school graduates entered preschool your humble correspondent's invitations to deliver a keynote address were, once again, lost in the mail or the Internet ether.

No matter. As ever, I have prepared a silent version of my undelivered (yet again sigh ) remarks.


To members of the Class of 2012, proud, grateful and no doubt exhausted parents, envious siblings, extended families who traveled far to join us, honored guests and, to be sure, the perpetually underappreciated staff and faculty who yoked you together to coax, cajole, inspire and otherwise drive you across today's finish line, I bring you greetings and thanks.

As an inflexion point that is, a moment that changes everything graduation is a rarity. You can see it coming. It occupies a spot on the calendar, right down to the moment it's supposed to begin. You can prepare for it; you know what to wear and what to expect.

School teaches us that's how things work. Everything squeezes onto a schedule. Tests, progress reports, conference nights, ballgames, dances and other extracurricular activities each has its time and place; each points toward this culminating moment.

Actual life, you will discover, is far less orderly. Crucial events fly by in a blur. In time, you will recognize when it comes to inflexion points, most are identifiable only in your rearview mirror.

Understanding that, the best available advice comes from the Boy Scouts of America: Be prepared. An ancillary piece of worthy advice comes from Absorbine Jr.: Be flexible.

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Graduates: Earned success is reward in itself

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June 10th, 2012 at 5:16 am

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